IRS screeners on the right track

We owe a debt of thanks to letter writer Gabe Lewin (June 5) for nailing the charge of “scandal” on the door where it belongs: Not the IRS (for its admitted clumsiness) but on those clearly political organizations that applied for tax exemption as “mostly” nonpolitical or nonpartisan. They are the ones to publicly shame. Not only do they request non-tax (social welfare) status, but their new category would excuse them from revealing their donors!

What would you do if sitting in an (understaffed) IRS office faced with a high tide of applications from organizations for “tax-exempt” status and “secret donor” status? Some of them bear clearly partisan titles in their very names: “tea party,” for example. As Lewin calls them, these clearly are the low-hanging fruit, those who most obviously tout their partisan political bent in their title. So why not take their applications for “tax-exempt” and “donor-disclosure exempt” status, first? Makes perfect sense to me: “Let’s keep these applications moving, folks. Gotta decide.”

What gave a flurry of political organizations the idea they could pass IRS screening as innocent, nonpartisan “poor little buttercups,” and get away publicly with such a deception?

Thanks go to our first line of defense against tax evaders, the IRS screeners.

Dale M. Heckman


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